Agenda item



Report CSD17132


The Sub-Committee considered a report setting out a decision for the Education, Children and Families Portfolio Holder with relation to a contract for the provision of support services to children at risk of sexual exploitation which was due to end on 30th September 2017.  The Chairman of Education, Children and Families Select Committee, Councillor Nicholas Bennett JP had requested that the Sub-Committee undertake pre-decision scrutiny on this decision due to the timescales in relation to the proposed recommendation within the report.


The Child Sexual Exploitation Recovery Service provided direct support to children and young people under the age of 18 years (and Looked After Children under the age of 21 years and living within the M25) who were at risk of being sexually exploited, and delivered awareness raising activities and training to improve knowledge and skills to help prevent child sexual exploitation and improve support for victims.  A contract to provide a specialist programme of support with young people to divert them from the risk of sexual exploitation, as well as to deliver training to Bromley social workers was held by Barnardo’s and was due to end on 30th September 2017.  It was proposed that the Portfolio Holder for Education, Children and Families authorise the award of a further contract to Barnardo’s for a period of 12 months to allow the provision of this support to be continued whilst consideration was given to the future delivery arrangements for this service.  The report also set out the commissioning intentions for the future of the service.


The Director of Programmes (ECHS) and Director of Children’s Social Care introduced the item and provided an explanation as to why the report was before Members at such a late stage in the contract.  The Director of Programmes stressed to the Sub-Committee that the delay in presenting the report to Members had in no way affected the recommendation that was being made.  Officers were confident that this was the most appropriate recommendation at this point in time.  The 12 month extension that was being requested would provide the opportunity for a comprehensive review of the Service model which would be reported back to Members later in the year.


The Director of Programmes reported that this was a valuable service that was integrated into the Atlas Team and delivered good outcomes for children in a specialist area.  The current contract was providing good value for money. 


The Director of Children’s Social Care reminded the Sub-Committee that the Atlas Team had been launched in January 2017.  The forthcoming review of this contract would provide a good opportunity to undertake a review of the Atlas Team, investigate how other local authorities delivered the service in terms of best practice and identify areas of best practice.  The Director of Children’s Social Care confirmed that there were currently 15 young people benefitting from the Service with an additional 4 on the waiting list who the Director was confident would be incorporated into the Service. The Director of Children’s services advised that in the recent Ofsted monitoring visit of CSE it was highlighted that this was the only service offered and the LA would need to consider a more wrap around service for these children.

In response to a question from a Member concerning whether 3 months was sufficient time to undertake a review of the Atlas Team prior to procuring a service, the Director of Children’s Social Care confirmed that the review of the Atlas Team was a 3 to 4 week review which would be undertaken in October.  The services for children vulnerable to or victim of CSE is was a very bespoke service in a niche area which meant the market was limited.  The Director of Programmes confirmed that he was confident that sufficient time had been allowed for any review.


In response to a question from the Chairman the Director of Programmes confirmed that in future Members would not be asked to approve contracts with such little time.  The rule in Bromley was that any new contract had to receive Member approval within 6 months of the end of the existing contract.  Contracts that were due to expire in March 2018 were now being reviewed.  Moving forward the Department would be better placed to plan ahead and ensure that contract approval was sought in good time.


The Members of the Sub-Committee confirmed that they had been reassured by the information that had been provided.  It was agreed that on this occasion the “call-in” provision should be waived and the decision treated as an urgent decision to ensure that the contract was in place by 1 October 2017.




1.  The Portfolio Holder be recommended to approve a further award of contract to Barnardo’s via an exemption to competitive tendering for a period of one year from 1st October 2017 to 30th September 2018.


2.  The decision be taken under grounds of urgency and the “call-in” provision waived in this instance.



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